1. Playing around in nostalgia territory and am amused by how well pop music re-uses itself over and over.
For instance, in May-Oct 1993, #1 spots were dominated mostly by three songs:
8 weeks: "That's the Way Love Goes" (Janet Jackson) --> samples "Papa Don't Take No Mess" by James Brown (1974)
7 weeks: "(I Can't Help) Falling in Love with You (UB40) --> cover of "We Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis (1961)
8 weeks: "Dreamlover" (Mariah Carey) --> samples "Blind Alley" by The Emotions (1972)
2. Compare that kind of pop-culture inertia to, say, 1974, where the top spot cycled much more frequently, yet those songs have been sampled heavily in the years since.
My most recent find is:
Yall - Hundred Miles (recently on Euro charts) ---> Beat rips off Major Lazer & DJ Snake - Lean On (from last summer)
Interestingly despite being american music, country which most vistors are from is....South Korea!
The details: 1996 Telecommunications Act (viewable http://transition.fcc.gov/Reports/tcom1996.txt ), string search for "SEC. 202. BROADCAST OWNERSHIP":
> NATIONAL RADIO STATION OWNERSHIP RULE CHANGES REQUIRED- The Commission shall modify section 73.3555 of its regulations (47 C.F.R. 73.3555) by eliminating any provisions limiting the number of AM or FM broadcast stations which may be owned or controlled by one entity nationally.
Prior to this, each city had its own local stations and they'd all compete with each other. This change paved the way for Clear Channel aka iHeartMedia, Inc to purchase pretty much every commercial radio station around the country, resulting in the same programs everywhere. I read a reddit post recently that went into more detail about the process but I can't find it.
> Arguably pop music, as measured by the singles charts, peaked in early 1966, thereafter beginning a shallow decline in overall quality which was already steepening by 1970. While some will date this tail-off to a little later, only the soulless or tone-deaf will refuse to admit any decline at all. Those with ears to hear, let them hear.
After a couple more decades of continuing (though not uniform and consistent) overall decline, the broad truth of this looks more evident than ever. In much the same way that classical music probably peaked roughly around the death of Beethoven, with the shallow decline in overall quality becoming steeper some time in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century.
I'm sorry, in my opinion, music has just gotten a lot worse in quality over the years. And the other poster's post about ClearChannel taking over all the radio stations nationwide in the late 90s, I think, is good evidence that it's not just my biased opinion, the environment and the music industry has really changed for the worse. The industry was run in a very different manner back in the 70s and 80s, and it should be obvious that that's going to have a huge effect on the music.
The point is that The Beatles are better than Boyz II Men, not that Led Zeppelin is better than Nirvana.
The unfortunate issue is that these days modern music labeled as "classical" seems to be dominated by unlistenable or nearly unlistenable works composed under the guise of "let's break convention with harmony and so on" thus ending with pieces that might be interesting on an intellectual level but that do not move the average listener at all.
Of course the polite way of putting this is that modern classical music is "challenging", but from my perspective if it doesn't move you (and I don't mean move you towards the nearest exit of the concert hall) it's not really music.
Almost certainly this.
That can be part of it, but some eras can have better music than others too, period. The same way some centuries have tons of important artistic and intellectual works and others are mostly void of them: societies changes, new models, etc.
This is especially the case with respect to specific genres: e.g. not so much good bebop in 1990-2010 as in 1940s, even though there is some. Genres have their peaks and lows. This holds for genres like rock and r&b too.
I agree with your point within genres but I disagree with your point as a whole. The main issue is knowing where to look, which can actually be quite difficult for some periods, as a lot didn't make it onto Youtube or Spotify. I've done some digging, though, and within each decade since the dawn of electrically amplified recording (1925), I've personally managed to find a style of music that I consider "as good as anything in any other period" i.e. timeless.
The thing is, some of these styles have been forgotten in contemporary discourse: Western Swing went from THE most popular style of music in the 1940s to being completely forgotten or tossed under the rug along with "I hate country and rap." If you ignore Western Swing because it's "country", you ignore the most interesting musical movement of that whole period (and you fail to fully understand the origins of Rock & Roll/Rockabilly/Sun Records/Elvis).
Other styles/movements have been reduced to the work of one or two idiosyncratic artists who are revered/remembered more for their personal story than for their place in the broader context: Django Reinhardt is the first that comes to mind (listen to Eddie Lang & Joe Venuti, then Milton Brown & His Musical Brownies, then come back to Django and see what you think). Johnny Cash and Hank Williams are two others where most people are more familiar with their personal stories than their contextual relevance (and I'd argue one is a lot more important than the other).
I'm willing to list off my personal findings/recommendations on styles/artists but it would take me a while to get from 1925 to today. If there's interest I'll write it up but this post is already getting long.
First post has a lot of good recommendations from the 20s that I stand by. I'd rewrite most of the second post, though. I'll just do an overview here of what I'm familiar with:
30s -- swing/big band, western swing, acoustic/country/delta blues
40s -- western swing (cont), electric blues, honky-tonk, bop, vocal groups (less familiar)
50s -- bluegrass, rockabilly/rock & roll, honky-tonk (cont), folk revival, post-bop
60s and onward is a lot harder to follow, but...
60s -- folk, folk-rock, psych rock, psych folk, PLUS all sorts of jazz (bossa nova, modal) and country (Bakersfield Sound)
70s (note country drops off the map here) -- jazz-fusion, free jazz, disco, soul, singer-songwriter (less familiar), prog (less familiar)
80s -- post-disco, smooth jazz (yes, it can actually be good), punk, detroit techno, proto-house, rap (less familiar), new wave (less familiar)
90s -- house and beyond (my knowledge outside of dance music drops off pretty hard after the mid 80s)
This is certainly true of architecture--ref: the various discussions here about the widely perceived ugliness of much of Brutalist architecture. On the flip side, some might not find it inventive or whatever, but few are going to call most examples of neoclassical or Beaux Arts architecture ugly.
A quick cheat for sites that stop "running" when switching tabs is to open them in a new window of their own, with no other tabs open in it.
You can then return to your "main" browsing window and get back to whatever you were working on previously.
haven't visited that side in about 2 years now, and the main reason why i stopped going there was that i couldn't activate a stream on my second monitor while doing something else on my primary.
It is a silly restriction!
edit: mootothemax's suggestion is even better, I didn't realize the tab can go in the background after being split out.
I think there is noticeable deterioration in music quality of the top hit during the past millenia. I guess it's combination of several factors: music getting cheaper, youngsters getting more money. And people in their thirties having more and more options on what to listen, so they are less likely to herd the record store on any one given single. I'd say music was still good in 86. (I was born then.)
From 2001 onwards it seems the teens started to swarm billboard social 100 or something. Boybands are out and music is suddenly OK again.
Just to nitpick, I think most of us know too little about the hit music of 1016 to tell. The English top 10 probably included coronation songs for Edmund Ironside and then Cnut, but apart from that, we don't know much.
But I agree that much of the hits I've heard since 2000 are mostly crap. I bet it is because I'm getting old.
Finally, if you have an ear for music, you should be able to listen to music from other periods before you were born and find stuff that's really high quality, even if it's not a genre you normally listen to. Not so for post-2000 stuff (unless maybe it's some indie stuff or something obscure, not radio pop).
Now as for 1016, music was really different in the days before recorded music. The classical stuff like Brahms and Beethoven was paid for by rich patrons (nobility usually) and played for richer audiences. The common people's music isn't very well known, since no one recorded it. The music that the King in 1016 listened to was surely not the same as what the peasants listened to.
"Summer is icumin in" is from the 13th century (I can't find a reasonable recording).
This is older, and was on HN 5 days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11607392 / http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/first-performance-in-1000...
In addition to peasant and court music, there was religious music. But I have no idea how common it was.
Totally wrong. It wasn't recorded electronically, and you needed a whole orchestra of highly skilled musicians to reproduce it. Your average guy on the street in 1885 did not have this. Your average guy on the street in 1985, however, could just turn on his Sony Walkman and listen to a cassette tape of whatever music he wanted to, or to FM radio. This makes the music industry entirely different. The ability to record sound and play it back on a mechanical (or electronic) device without any musicians changed everything, and brought music to the masses in a way they never had access to it before. Before this, the average person either had to pay to attend a concert (probably not a frequent occurrence, just like attending concerts isn't exactly a daily activity for people today), or maybe he had his own (not very high-end) instrument and tried to play some things by himself or with some friends. That's an entirely different culture than one where people can listen to professional musicians play music at almost any time or place thanks to stereos, headphones, etc.
Early Medieval music can't be reproduced at any cost, with the few exceptions we have requiring years of study before they were understood.
Also, I think people would have heard lots of music. Pubs in Britain used to have pianos, Irish pubs are known for having musicians, folk dancing was common, etc.
How often did these pub-goers hear Brahms or Vivaldi? Probably never. They heard whatever music that local musicians played, or whatever they figured out how to play as amateurs, and that was about it. They didn't have companies finding talented musicians in different regions, countries, or continents and marketing them, recording their music, and making it available for them to buy a copy so they could listen to it while driving to work.
What makes me sad is that over here, the public broadcaster (government-owned) has playlists for pop just like the commercial radio stations do. I don't understand why, and it makes radio very very dull.
Maybe the top hits, but not music in general.
The main reason is, in my opinion, the diversification of styles and the more varied tastes of the listeners.
For example, a lot of the music that I listen to would never be played on the radio (partly because this was not the main intention of the artists).
The other reason is, of course, the business-ification (?) of music - we have no problem with the term "music industry" it seems.
There are bands which are "companies", and they produce "products" which happen to be songs.
They invest a lot in PR and marketing, they research and deliver what the market wants, just like a for-profit enterprise would. This is somewhat opposed to "true" artists, who express their feelings and emotions through music.
I've always looked skeptically at these "tops", because they are not about music, but about the business behind it.
Some of the songs, though, are good and I enjoy hearing an older song because it reminds me of certain time-space points, which is to say, they bring good memories about when I was younger.
Despite being one whose personal preference is for music that's over a couple of hundred years old, I think your comment comes across as elitist. It's fine to have personal preferences, but I don't know how you'll justify such a claim.
If you're singling out the 90's, I suspect that's got something to do with your age, i.e. your musical tastes developed at a different period. Were you a teenager in the 80s?
1. Recorded music has meant less need for such large numbers of musicians, as a result the pool of potential talent is lower. Much less live music is performed as a result, as a result the pool of musicians with great live musical abilities has gone down.
2. Multi-track and then computer recording has made it possible to make much more 'effects' based music, which wows the ears sonically, but requires less musicianship to back it up. The large producers of pop music has largely clung to using these techniques to give their music a unique 'modern' sound, largely fueled by the latest developments in technology.
3. The ever progressing corporatization of the music industry.
1. Only the most passionate musicians do it as a profession.
2. A producer doesn't have to chase that perfect accordion sound and manage to record it withouht distortion anymore. Which means it's increasingly about musical ideas and less about mechanical skill.
3. Corporatization always has element of specialization. Which has yielded lots of good on on other fields.
It's very much an outlier--I suspect the "Silent Majority" deliberately pushed that to the top of the charts as a protest against all the hippie counterculture stuff that was in the charts until then.
As others point out, changes in how tracked (radio play vs. download sales vs. streams) can change this, but it is fascinating to see visually.
Yes, this is fascinating to see, and I believe there is some high correlation between the speed of changes and the quality of the produced music.
Good lord, that would be shocking. I know very few under-20s who listen to the radio for music, and I've never even met someone who had ever called into a radio station to request a song.
Most likely it's a mix of itunes downloads, youtube clicks, spotify plays, etc.
Now that I work from home my radio usage is mostly limited to sports, though I take a lot of road trips for family purposes and it becomes fun to scan through the radio and seek out songs you know.
And I have called in to a station before - probably not for ten years, but I've done it! It's interesting to see how they cut up the conversation to fit the space they have.
Going by weeks at #1, Mariah Carey is probably the most popular artist of all time (i.e., since Billboard started recording). She also had a collab ("One Sweet Day") that still holds the record for most weeks at #1. Not only her raw numbers, but her career delivered #1s spanning 3 decades.
I guess I never thought that she was as big as she is/was.
IMHO good art comes from adversity and novelty (mixing cultures). These were active forces in the 19th century and sadly still active today.
Adversity faced by the black community. Oppression, poverty and violence etc. We probably wouldn't have hip-hop if everyone had a trust-fund. Art needs something to say.
>> Gospel is white and European now?
Sure i.e. European Hymns as the principle influence of Southern Gospel music. I believe the original music called "Gospel" was in European Christian communities. I'm no expert and can be corrected.
I'm seeking to demonstrate that questions about cultural influences are better explained by events (diaspora, oppression) than to just see race and stop there as though its a sufficient explanation.
With good reason IMO - I'm not much of a fan of Italian pop. I go for a bit more esoteric stuff like Fishbone, Oregon's own Cherry Poppin' Daddies, and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.
I have to wonder how many of these Nile Rodgers is responsible for.
Had to stop the music at first. 1990s' western music (pop music that is, can't see anything else there) was... well - bad. Didn't even realize up until now.
Because "top 5" doesn't mean "good", does it?